The word “power” often evokes strong reactions from women.
The first thing that comes to mind when we imagine powerful women is either Olivia Pope from Scandal or Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. Both are amazing at their jobs, but in different ways. Olivia is more go-with-the-flow while remaining calm under pressure, while Miranda (while admittedly harsh) gets the job done with an unmatched level of precision.
While I love fashionable shoes and powerful women, what I really want to emphasize is that being powerful doesn’t have to mean domination over others. In reality, the most influential women are those who empower themselves.
So what does that actually entail? I feel like the term “empowered” has become so regularly used to the point where it lacks its original meaning. To me, being empowered means feeling energized, self-assured, triumphant, motivated, and fervent. It’s akin to knowing that you’re in control of your life (instead of idly sitting by and observing as time passes).
Most of us feel disempowered on a daily basis… maybe not even on a weekly or monthly basis.
How can you take charge of your life and feel more powerful every day?
Reflect on the areas of your life that make you feel hopeless.
Perhaps you feel caged, stagnant, or unfulfilled at work. Or some of your relationships might be causing you to feel disregarded or unseen.
When you feel disempowered, it may feel like you have no control over the situation. It’s common to either shut down and give up or to blame someone else when this occurs. However, by taking responsibility, you can actually empower yourself and change the way you respond to feeling powerless.
So how can you take back control over one small (or large) part of this situation?
Here’s a great example:
Recently, while I was life-coaching one of my clients, she began to feel powerless over her work schedule. Flexibility and freedom are both important values to her, but being chained to her desk until 5:30 p.m. – or later – every day regardless of whether she had actually finished working for the day made her miserable.
As the hours passed and she continued to have no work, her resentment grew stronger. She became so frustrated that quitting seemed like a viable option.
I asked if she had broached the topic of a more flexible work schedule with her boss–one that would be based on productivity rather than set hours. She responded, “No, I can’t ask for that. That’s not how my company operates. Plus, I’m terrified my boss will view me as lazy.”
But eventually, her unhappiness surpassed the unease of having that conversation with her boss. She chose to take action and request what she wanted; we even prepared, in advance, how she could present it as a win-win for both her and her company.
Her boss loved the idea and she now has a more flexible work schedule. She feels valued at her job and doesn’t resent having to ask for permission anymore.
What I mean is that you should take control of your life and steer it in the direction you want it to go.
Acknowledge your accomplishments regularly.
When was the last time you felt certain and proud, inspired and capable of anything?
Chances are, you haven’t given that moment much thought since it occurred – whether it was just yesterday or six months ago.
The majority of people believe that negative feedback, or even criticism, is a bad thing. However, this often provides individuals with an opportunity to learn and improve upon their current skillset.
Because we are human, by nature we tend to focus on the negatives and quickly forget about the positives in our past. In order to override this setting in our brain, it takes consistent effort to train your mind remind yourself of your successes more often than you do your failures.
A useful method to consider is making a “Brag Sheet.” This isn’t referring to a resume. It’s simply a compilation of all the accomplishments you’ve made that have left you feeling proud, big or small. Nobody has to lay eyes on this except for you, so feel free to include whatever you desire.
Keep your brag sheet in a place where you’ll see it every day, like on your computer desktop, the notes app on your phone, or the nightstand by your bed. That way, you can easily add to it regularly.
Bam, instant internal power boost.
Challenge yourself to face your fears regularly.
Inspired by the book, My Year With Eleanor, I wrote an article called Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You. In it, the author Noelle Hancock tells of how she fought off social anxiety and regained confidence and passion for life by facing one of her fears every day for a whole year.
I’m not saying you should go to the same extremes as she did, but I do think that purposely confronting your fears head-on (like volunteering to speak in front of a group or going skydiving) is an easy way to boost your confidence. It makes the other anxieties in your life seem smaller and unimportant by comparison, and it helps you realize that if you can do something outside of your comfort zone, then you can accomplish anything.
Now it’s your turn–which of these power-boosting strategies do you want to try? Let me know below in the comments!